Avoidable Strike Notice

Chika Onuegbu
Chika Onuegbu

OIL workers under the aegis of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum, and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, have warned that they will suspend production if the rate of oil theft in the country is not checked. The unions also threatened that the workers would stop the supply of petroleum products if there was no end to the organised destruction of oil installations in the country.

Chika Onuegbu, PENGASSAN’s national industrial relations officer, who gave the warning, said the nation was losing between $6 billion and $12 billion every year to oil bunkering and illegal refining. “I want to clearly inform you that if nothing concrete is done to stop oil theft, the oil workers’ unions, PENGASSAN and NUPENG, may be forced to suspend production of crude oil and supply of petroleum products until appropriate action is taken,” he said.

He explained that Nigerians, especially indigenes of the Niger Delta region, had expected the government to translate the revenue from oil exploitation to urban and rural infrastructural development. Onuegbu added that oil theft began the moment it became clear that the federal government was not committed to the development of the people.

“Since then, both organised and unorganised destruction of oil installations have been on the increase. Most of these were done because of the economic benefits derivable from it. Others were carried out as a mark of resistance and protest to the skewed nature of wealth creation and distribution in Nigeria, especially as it affects the oil wealth and the communities. Most of the incidences were targeted at stealing products, both crude and refined, which are then sold internationally or refined locally into products.”

For the Sake of Transparency

Reginald Stanley
Reginald Stanley

IN ITS bid to check fictitious fuel subsidy claims that led to the payment of almost N3 trillion to marketers in 2011, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, PPPRA has released fresh rules to guide petroleum products’ importers. The new rule, which takes immediate effect, states that all importers of petroleum products must, henceforth, own coastal discharge or depot facilities before they can import petroleum products.

Reginald Stanley, executive secretary of the association, who unveiled the guidelines, said the agency had shortlisted 20 accredited international suppliers of fuel to Nigeria, which comprises both indigenous and foreign operators. According to him, the implication of this, is that only pre-qualified traders would be allowed to supply products to the Nigerian market. He said the agency has also banned cargo from storage tanks in West African coasts except from refineries to prevent round tripping.

The agency, has equally introduced a traders’/supplier’s initiative in the form of a technical audit of suppliers of Premium Motor Spirit into the Nigerian market, which is expected to take off in the first quarter of 2013. Stanley added that the agency has also introduced the 3-3-2 structure used by independent inspectors to validate vessel arrival, discharge of products into shore tanks and truck-out from the storage depots that received products from the vessel.

He stated that it would no longer be business as usual in the nation’s downstream sector under the PPPRA, as the agency was poised to tackle every shortcoming aimed at ensuring that importation of petroleum products into the country is done in a transparent manner. He said many of the so-called foreign companies operating in the downstream sub-sector had been blacklisted in their home countries, assuring that his agency had concluded plans to publish the names of accredited international companies that would be operating in the downstream sub-sector to ensure transparency.

Why Oil Communities Seethe

OIL producing communities in Delta State have called on the National Assembly to probe Diezani Alison-Madueke, minister of petroleum and Shell Petroleum Development Company for their role which resulted in their exclusion from the allocation of Oil Mining Lease, OML. The communities who were on a peaceful protest march to the National Assembly in Abuja on April 25 lamented the absence of a transparent and open competitive bidding of OML 2, 26, 30, 34, 41, and 42.

The communities, which comprised Itsekiri, Urhobo, Ijaw, Isoko and Ndokwa said in a petition addressed to both the Senate and House of Representatives, and signed by 20 members that they had suffered long years of deprivation and degradation arising from oil exploration.

The petition read in part, “We are the representatives of the oil producing communities in Delta State, who have the customary title to the various areas where the upstream oil and gas assets are located and wherein various oil mining leases were recently allocated and/or acquired.

“We heaved a sigh of relief when we learnt that the Shell Petroleum Development Company was divesting its interest in the various OMLs and that the government had ordered that the MLS be thrown open for bidding by any interested company.

“But this relief was cut short when the said mining leases were surreptitiously granted without any open bidding process and granted to non-indigenes without regards to the doctrine of rights of pre-emption and/or first refusal being granted to members of our communities, who have the financial and technical capability to acquire the mining leases.”

They blamed Alison-Madueke, other officials of her ministry and Shell for their predicament. The petition also alleged that in 2011, officials of Shell and Alison-Madueke secretly transferred production rights in four large oil blocks, OMLs 26, 30, 34 and 42, to Jide Omokore’s Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, a company that neither tendered nor bidded for the blocks.

Who Are They?

Chinedu Nebo
Chinedu Nebo

THE Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, workers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies, SSAEAC and the National Union of Electricity Employees, have called on federal government to expose those who are opposing the on-going power sector reform that commenced in August 2010.

The federal government had alleged that most actions undertaken by labour unions against the privatisation of the PHCN successor companies were being promoted by forces that were not interested in the reform process. Abiodun Ogunsegha, general secretary of SSAEAC, refuted earlier claims by the government that the groups were being used by individuals and companies that were against the privatisation of the power sector.

He said if the government was suspecting that some individuals were behind labour’s actions regarding privatisation, it should provide proofs. “Government has to come up with its proofs. We are not instigated by anybody. We have continued to tell government what it has to do, which is basically that all payments should be made. This is because new employers are coming in. They should tell Nigerians who those people are so that we can be able to identify them. If government suspects that there are forces or people pushing or using us as agents against the privatisation, it should be free to let Nigerians know who these people are,” he said.

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu 

— May 6, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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